Maintaining a safe exercise program is important for women at any stage of life and especially during pregnancy. Round Rock Obstetrician/Gynecologist Saima Jehangir, MD offers tips for Central Texas women who plan to become pregnant or are pregnant already.
"Exercise helps maintain a healthy weight and a healthier pregnancy and promotes good sleep patterns," says Dr. Jehangir. "Except in cases of medical complications or a high-risk pregnancy, you should continue to exercise during and after pregnancy, with the approval of your doctor. However, you need to be aware of changes in your body due to pregnancy and change your exercise accordingly."
Changes Can Impact Workout
"Keep in mind that your body changes throughout your pregnancy. You may need to adjust your exercise activity to compensate for the changes," continues Dr. Jehangir. They include:
- Weight - "A pregnant woman will be heavier and that will affect the way she exercises."
- Stability - "The joints, pelvis and ligaments become unstable and your center of gravity changes, which means you are more likely to fall. Dont do any exercise with a high potential for falling, such as rollerblading, ice skating, skiing, horseback riding or tennis."
- Rest - "Pregnant women become anemic, which means you get tired more quickly. Your body will tell you when you need to rest."
- Heart rate/blood volume - "Your heart rate and blood volume change during pregnancy. You should keep your heart rate under 140 when exercising to make sure your baby is getting enough blood and oxygen. Using a heart rate monitor will help you know that you are getting the right amount of a cardiovascular workout."
Good Exercise Choices During Pregnancy
"The ideal is to continue to exercise 30 minutes a day, four days a week, if you can. Any time you exercise, be sure to drink lots of water and eat something healthy before and after you exercise," adds Dr. Jehangir. "Many women exercise right up to the time of delivery." Think about the following:
- Aerobic exercise - "I advocate stationary biking, elliptical trainers, brisk walking, or jogging, although running becomes uncomfortable later in the pregnancy."
- Swimming - "Swimming and water exercise are the best choice, because its easy on the joints and the water supports your body.
- Weights - "Its safe to do weight training, but use lighter weights with high repetitions."
- Yoga - "Prenatal yoga is also a good option, because it is low impact and great for the joints."
"Its also important to exercise after delivery, although its much more difficult due to exhaustion. Still, even simple exercise such as taking a walk with the baby or attending 'mommy and baby' yoga will help promote good health and ward off post-partum depression," believes Dr. Jehangir.
Saima Jehangir, MD
Obstetrics & Gynecology
Round Rock, TX
Dr. Jehangir specializes in minimally invasive surgery and provides comprehensive womens care from teen to post-menopausal care.